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Rumour: Universal plans Middle-earth theme park?
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News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Jan 3 2013, 8:18pm

Post #1 of 28 (559 views)
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Rumour: Universal plans Middle-earth theme park? Can't Post

Hogwarts Orlando Universal Unconfirmed rumours are circulating that Universal is talking with Tolkien Estate about creating a Middle-earth theme park. The rumours emerged on New Year's day on the Orlando United forum where a user reported claims that Universal Studios asked Warner Bros. to raise the topic with Tolkien Estate. At this point, it is unclear whether the user has insider knowledge, or is simply reporting what others have said.

From the source post:

"...here is how I heard that it played out. Universal asked Warner Bros. to approach the Tolkien family since the Tolkien's trust WB with the success of the LOTR series. WB described how Universal was willing to work with JK Rowling and how the 2 of them (WB and JK) held Universal's feet to the fire to uphold Rowling's vision of the IP. And I believe that the Tolkien's may have actually talked to JK Rowling. This was before Universal said a word to the Tolkien's. So after WB stoked the fire, Universal entered the picture with an impressive plan.

As of now there is a lot of hammering out to go, but Universal has gotten a lot farther than Disney ever did."

Tolkien aficionados would recall, of course, that the professor had a notoriously low estimation of the creative works of Walt Disney. Letter #13 in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien makes his position clear:

"It might be advisable [..] to let the Americans do what seems good to them -- as long as it was possible [..] to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing)."

That's not to say that Universal would fare any better with Tolkien Estate in any quest to create a Middle-earth theme park. The Estate is well-known to be wary of merchandising, and is currently engaged in a legal stoush with Warner Bros. and Saul Zaentz, alleging that the companies are merchandising beyond what was contractually agreed upon in the 1969 rights deal.

Micechat, a site that specialises in theme park news, claims Universal "is very close to acquiring the rights to develop and produce attractions based on the successful Lord of the Rings franchise of films". So we might see whether there's anything to this rumour quite soon.





imin
Valinor


Jan 4 2013, 3:12am

Post #2 of 28 (352 views)
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oh dear [In reply to] Can't Post

if they have to be built they should be built in England.

I am extremely doubtful the Tolkien Estate would give the go ahead with this but do they have to if the theme park is based on the films?


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 4 2013, 4:09am

Post #3 of 28 (339 views)
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Wasn't this part of the plan announced with the green light in 2010? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Kimtc
Rohan

Jan 4 2013, 5:34am

Post #4 of 28 (338 views)
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Guess I'd have to go [In reply to] Can't Post

But I always thought the HP part of Universal was a bit small. If Universal is going to do this, they will obviously tear something down, but will it stiil be large enough?

Notwithstanding the Professor's dislike (which I understand), Disney does do theme parks well.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 4 2013, 8:20am

Post #5 of 28 (337 views)
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If it does get the go ahead ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Which I doubt, I hope this is in the UK. Everything fun always happens elsewhere. Frown

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Growlithe the Grey
Rivendell


Jan 4 2013, 11:56am

Post #6 of 28 (333 views)
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Why would anyone be against it? [In reply to] Can't Post

A person on the article on the main site said "Oh god please no."

Why not? What harm is there? If you don't want it or don't like it, don't go. A theme park won't revise the films and won't rewrite the books.


Welsh hero
Gondor


Jan 4 2013, 12:38pm

Post #7 of 28 (302 views)
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I doubt the estate would allow it // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

-Irfon

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acheron
Gondor


Jan 4 2013, 3:06pm

Post #8 of 28 (323 views)
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the Earth is developing a wobble in its orbit [In reply to] Can't Post

From Tolkien rolling over in his grave. Tongue

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


pandoraziki
Rivendell

Jan 4 2013, 6:07pm

Post #9 of 28 (297 views)
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Awwww, the Rhosgobel Bunny Ride for the wee ones :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


LordotRings93
Rohan


Jan 4 2013, 6:25pm

Post #10 of 28 (293 views)
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Exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not like every fan of Tolkien will have a gun pointed to their head saying "You have to go to this theme park, or else!". I don't go to theme parks much, but perhaps when I get the money someday I'll visit this if it comes to pass.

Lover of Medieval Fantasy
"I know what I must do. It's just... I'm afraid to do it."


the_argonath
Lorien


Jan 4 2013, 7:41pm

Post #11 of 28 (295 views)
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Doubt this would get the go ahead from the Estate... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and anyway I'd much rather spend my thousands of pounds going to NZ Laugh

~*Haudh-en-Ndengin the Elves named it, the Hill of Slain, and Haugh-en-Nirnaeth, the Hill of tears... the earth beneath which the swords of the Eldar and the Edain crumbled into rust*~

Just some light reading....


L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens


Jan 4 2013, 8:24pm

Post #12 of 28 (281 views)
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They did a great job with Harry Potter, by all accounts.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 



"123456!... password!... password1!... password2!... Gimli, do you know Durin's date of birth? Thanks. 140457!... mithril@!... mithril#!... maltbeer!... qwerty!... Legolas, do your elf eyes see any post-its lying around the base of the cliff?"


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Jan 4 2013, 8:31pm

Post #13 of 28 (298 views)
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Non-stop rain would kind-of ruin the fun of an out-door amusement park. :P :P // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Jan 4 2013, 8:33pm

Post #14 of 28 (289 views)
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Because we're supposed to say that to everything here in webby-world. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!

(This post was edited by Captain Salt on Jan 4 2013, 8:34pm)


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Jan 4 2013, 8:36pm

Post #15 of 28 (309 views)
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How cool is that! However, I don't get how the PJ films are an afront to JRR's writings, but THIS is not at all a mainstream money grab? [In reply to] Can't Post

If the Tolkien Estate is indeed signing over such rights to Universal, the logic of Christoper Tolkien once again escapes me.

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!

(This post was edited by Altaira on Jan 6 2013, 7:32pm)


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jan 4 2013, 8:45pm

Post #16 of 28 (296 views)
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Christopher isn't signing away anything. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


(This post was edited by Altaira on Jan 6 2013, 7:24pm)


belfalas
Bree

Jan 4 2013, 8:54pm

Post #17 of 28 (263 views)
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It could actually be pretty cool... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking like an interactive way to learn about the world of middle-earth, history, peoples, customs, etc. Done right, it would be very unique, not just a load of rides. Not that I'm any kind of an expert; my experience ends at Alton Towers...


squire
Valinor


Jan 5 2013, 12:13am

Post #18 of 28 (254 views)
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That's a big if [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll wait to hear a definitive report that a Tolkien theme park deal has been signed, before I speculate on Mr. C. Tolkien's mental health.

If I remember, the Estate nixed a request by the Jackson team to put the LotR film props into a museum in New Zealand. That doesn't seem to indicate they'd be in favor of a theme park.

The only way I can see it happening is if a court order decrees that the original sale of film rights include an option to develop an attraction like a theme park, as part of the marketing and merchandise clause. It's not a question of money - the Estate gets its cut of merchandise and marketing profits - but of rights and a worldview of what the Tolkien-brand literary vision is all about. The Estate has consistently shown a lack of interest in extending the sale of rights to further commercial exploitation of JRRT's works, beyond what the sale of film rights in the 1960s entailed. If the theme park idea requires additional consent by them, I should think they will say no, no matter what J. K. Rowling tells them.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 5 2013, 12:31am

Post #19 of 28 (264 views)
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According to Voronwe - [In reply to] Can't Post

In this post and this post Voronwe points out that Saul Zaentz may actually hold the rights to a Middle-earth theme park (though the Tolkien Estate believes they control such rights).

Here is the second post:


Quote
As you say, when there was a suggestion of some kind of permanent exhibition, Christopher Tolkien (rightly, in my mind) objected. But there is another layer to the possibility of some sort of theme park, that adds to the confusion. Saul Zaentz takes the position that he owns the rights to any kind of Middle-earth theme park; when he entered into the agreement with Miramax to licence the film rights to LOTR and (partly) The Hobbit (which was subsequently transferred to New Line and then Warners), he made sure to include a separate agreement that made sure to make clear that he retained the rights to any theme park. However, it is not at all clear from the original 1969 agreements that such rights were actually sold by Tolkien, and I believe (though I don't know for sure) that Christopher and the Estate takes the position (which I would support) that the Estate controls such rights, and thus would have the right to prevent anyone from proceeding with a theme park project.


And here is a link to a discussion we had in early 2011 about a M-e theme park.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 5 2013, 12:34am)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jan 5 2013, 2:01am

Post #20 of 28 (235 views)
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Well... it figures... [In reply to] Can't Post

Now I have THREE "must-get-to" places on my list. Middle-earth Theme Park, the Harry Potter Theme Park, and NZ (Wellington, Matamata)

*shakes change in piggy bank*


gramma's The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey Line Party Report & Review


sample

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



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moreorless
Rohan

Jan 5 2013, 12:56pm

Post #21 of 28 (247 views)
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Less themepark more "location" [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm thinking like an interactive way to learn about the world of middle-earth, history, peoples, customs, etc. Done right, it would be very unique, not just a load of rides. Not that I'm any kind of an expert; my experience ends at Alton Towers...



When the theme park idea was first brought up several years ago that was my feeling, a chance to recreate the locations of middle earth could be a worthwhile direction to go. Not only would it be more tasetful but I suspect also rather more inline with the tastes of the typical LOTR fan than the typical theme park thrill rides.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 5 2013, 1:53pm

Post #22 of 28 (242 views)
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Like the Harry Potter Studio Tour? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd be up for that. As long as it wasn't *just* based on the movies. It would be good for props and costumes, but they should stick to the book for the history etc.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 5 2013, 3:38pm

Post #23 of 28 (248 views)
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In my opinion, the only way it is true is if it is Zaentz, not the Estate [In reply to] Can't Post

As Sir Dennis notes in this thread, I have previously pointed out that Saul Zaentz appears to have claimed in the past that he owns the rights to this type of thing. The only way that I believe this rumor could be true is if, in fact, they are trying to go forward without the acquiescence of the Tolkien Estate. If in fact that is true, I think it would be true travesty and probably generate a lawsuit that dwarfs the previous one, and the ongoing one (or, perhaps more likely, is consolidated with and consumes the ongoing suit).

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jan 5 2013, 5:30pm

Post #24 of 28 (242 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it would be amazing to build more actual sets for people to visit, like the permanent Hobbiton in Matamata. Perhaps they could make a permanent Rivendell set or Bree. I think it would be absolutely phenomenal. I so wish to visit Matamata in the not too distant future!

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jan 6 2013, 2:36pm

Post #25 of 28 (211 views)
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Thanks - that's what I thought, too.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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